Month: November 2014

Lady Di’s Death Revealed Unchanged Passions: Part 6— The Unchanged Reality

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It is safe to state that among the British, there have always been two approaches to dealing with emotions. One is by stiffening the upper lip; the other is by letting the quavering of the heart affect it, and allowing the tears to roll down. The nature of an event, and how people relate to it, often decide the manner of expression at a particular time. That manner, within its time frame, does not imply the destruction and disappearance of the other way.

For the Falklands War, the British showed themselves a resolute, warlike people who could stiffen their upper lips. Even if they had to sail their troops on resurrected ocean liners, they would fight for what they believed in, a reaction very similar to their attitude during the Battle of Britain.

When Lady Diana died, they were mourning a celebrity they had adopted as one of their own. Granted, it was a period when self-examination and self-images were mutating, and Mr Blair’s reforms rode that tide.

Yet, although expressing grief freely meant that a new touchy-feely Britain was there to stay, it did not mean that selfishness, a fundamental trait of human nature, had been definitively replaced.

Pursuit or abandonment of self-interest does not influence the manner of grieving, but the degree of personal loss. It is possible to be selfless, but express no personal grief in public.

Hywel Williams is disappointed that the touchy feely change stopped at the expression of grief. Mr Williams may have hoped that it would mean a new era of welfare reform in Britain, instituted by pressure from a more sympathetic public. Yet, it is possible to be completely unsympathetic and selfish, but to mourn a personal loss. However, had Mr Blair taken the opportunity of initiating electoral reforms and entering the euro system in 1997, the touchy-feely Britain revealed in the mourning of Lady Diana’s death could have been credited with having created a real welfare state.

Awaiting that development, the open expression and acceptance  of quavering hearts firmly and finally places the imperatives of British working class culture over those of the governing class. Even Her Majesty’s accent, according to MacQuarie University, Australia’s researchers, has steadily been bending away from the constraints of Upper Received Pronunciation (URP) toward mainstream Received Pronunciation (RP) — with a whiff of Estuary since the research was published!

The End

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Lady Di’s Death Revealed Unchanged Passions: Part 5— Sexual Repression & Satire

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Although the stiff upper lip was a response to adversity, it has been confused with the strait-laced sexual attitudes of. In itself, the stiff upper lip has also been a subject of rich satire. Sexual repression British society inspired John Cleese’s Monty Python and Fawlty Towers, and to some extent, Hanif Kureish’s Buddha of Suburbia.

P.G.Wodehouse, the master of prose so admired by writers as far apart as Kipling, Waugh and Rushdie, devastatingly satirised the British upper classes; one of his novels was even titled Stiff Upper Lip.

All the same, as social mobility in Britain made headway, the model for social comportment remained the aristocracy, and the stiff upper lip confused with sexual repression is a derivative of the original trait.

As such, the British are commonly described as reserved and conservative, an opinion belied by overcrowded pubs bursting with conversation. As another indication of touching and feeling, even television programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing have been analysed by The Guardian as a national obsession with a people not known for “visual and physical literacy”.

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It is significant that in the eighties and nineties Punch magazine, a British institution in restrained, understated humour and satire had to remain closed due to insufficient circulation. It was ironically revived by Mr Fayed, an Egyptian deemed unfit to buy Harrod’s and whose son Dodi, Lady Diana’s companion, died with her. The years in which Punch lay dormant, its rival, Private Eye, known for Benny Hill style humour, flourished!

The decline of Punch and the rise of Private Eye mirrors the weakening influence of upper class standards and a celebration of working class tastes.

Lady Di’s Death Revealed Unchanged Passions: Part 4— Tony, Champagne Charlie, Elton John, hugs & tears

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Mr Blair was able to successfully walk the space between word and act due to the clear signals emanating from the people’s expression of grief at Lady Diana’s untimely demise. The funeral was practically stage-managed by the government, and the hillocks of flowers in front of Buckingham palace combined with the hints dropped in Mr Blair’s speeches pressured the Queen into coming from Balmoral to Buckingham for the funeral. She was not even allowed to passively disapprove of Lady Diana’s manner of living and dying. There were open tears and passionate speeches during the funeral ceremonies, uniting the high and mighty with the lowly and humble. Complete strangers just hugged and wept, and Lady Diana’s brother, also known as “champagne Charlie” made an impassioned speech the contents of which clearly criticised the royal family.

 

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Elton John composed and sang Lady Diana’s eulogy, Candle in the Wind, (putting Marilyn Monroe at par with a Royal) the translation of which was carried on the front page of the prestigious French daily, Le Monde, while not a whisper of reserve escaped from the Royal household to question the appropriateness of Elton John’s sexual preference. There was disappointment from the public about the Royal Family’s dry-eyed stiff upper lip reaction to the tragedy, and the courtiers gave no press statements on the subject. When the public espied Camilla Parker Bowles, she was liberally assaulted with bread-rolls. All these were signs that the Britain of that day was no longer the Britain of preceding years.

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However, before Victoria became Queen-Empress of the British Empire, the British might not have been described as touchy-feely, but they certainly were not Victorian in the sense of the term we now use. Victorianism is not a fundamental cultural or genetic trait of the Anglo-Saxon peoples. The words bawdy and raunchy had never lost their relevance since the Shakespeare. The Elizabethan age was the times of Shakespeare and Marlowe, when what is sexual innuendo today was explicitly expressed on the stage, and moreover, appreciated. We may go further back to the times of the legendary Robin Hood and his Merry Men, when, despite the religious fervour inspired by the Crusades, merriment was a sought after virtue. The British were a rambunctious, hard-drinking lot of tavern brawlers who became successful pirates before being legitimised as corsairs. The tradition of merriment continued to be appreciated through low-brow soap operas and street artists, and has now been democratised in an increasingly heterogeneous society in television sit-coms such as Benny Hill, Fawlty Towers, Yes Prime Minister, The New Statesman, East Enders, Coronation Street and Goodness Gracious Me.

Lady Di’s Death Revealed Unchanged Passions: Part 3— Fear for Britain

Part 3— Fear for Britain.

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The death of functional conservatism within the British Tories led Dame Thatcher to give her blessings to Mr Blair, and shortly thereafter, Mr Blair made every effort to ensure that Dame Thatcher would not regret her decision. He shored up the special relationship with Washington, much to the United States’ advantage, as time has shown. Abandoning the traditional socialist approach, he merged the Self-Regulatory Organizations into the Security and Investments Board, lending it a structure similar to the United States Security and Exchanges Commission, and setting it up as a counter-weight to the Bank of England.

With the economic interdependence of the United States and Britain ensured, Dame Thatcher declared that “there was no fear for Britain under Blair”.

Taking a cue from the Chinese Prime Minister Deng Xiaoping, Mr Blair felt encouraged to launch his “four modernizations”, promising a flexible economy, a modern welfare state, constitutional reform and a role for Britain in the world. It was a tacit admission that Britain’s economy was rigid, its welfare state outdated, its unwritten constitution an anachronism, and that its grip on Uncle Sam’s coat tails was slipping.

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Mr Blair then put act to speech, and Britain certainly changed. There was less unemployment, and seen as a whole, the British economy was doing well, with corporations thriving. Britain took firm steps to shift from an industrial to a service economy, and the housing market was booming. The effect on the middle and upper classes has been positive, but on the lower middle class and the poor, devastating. There was no job security, and the closing down, or relocation of traditional industries left people dependent on temporary employment agencies. For many job seekers, service industry translated as outsourcing with further job losses.

The results of the modern welfare state are overcrowded hospitals, poor schooling, and overworked police faced with a choice of chasing armed juvenile delinquents or hardened, home-grown terrorists. Constitutional reform stopped short of actually producing a written constitution compatible with the charters of European Union member states, and had to content itself with devolution of legislative power to Wales and Scotland. Since the bombing campaign of Serbia in 1999, the daily telephone call between the U.S. president and the British Prime Minister was ritualised, if that may be considered a foreign policy achievement.

Lady Di’s Death Revealed Unchanged Passions: Part 2— Multi-cultural Britain

Part 2— Multi-cultural Britain

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The attitude of the stiff upper lip came under unconscious revision during the hey-days of Lady Diana Spencer’s rule over the hearts, expectations and imaginations of the British public. The reaction to her tragic and untimely death in 1997 by the same public caused this change to be openly acknowledged by sociologists and the media.

Shortly before her death, Tony Blair, the Prime Minister of Britain, had led his Labour Party to a resounding victory and been nominated Prime Minister. Mr Blair’s campaign team had recognised the change in the British public, and revamped the labour Party as New Labour to respond efficiently to the expectations of a changed, socially mobile, heterogeneous and ethnically diverse Britain in which fish and chips as the national dish had been, in effect, replaced by Chicken Tikka Masala, a side effect of post-war immigration from South Asia.

The “quavering intuitions of the heart” were based on feeling and touching, and the British were said to have evolved into a touchy-feely people, a term that is now a standard way of describing this trait as opposed to the stiff upper lip.

Therefore no study of this change, and the degree to it which has endured, can succeed without taking into account the way the British public expressed their grief at Diana’s death, and what Tony Blair promised them.

Lady Di’s Death Revealed Unchanged Passions: Part 1— Myth and Reality — the Stiff Upper Lip

The reaction to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales … was meant to mark a profound shift in the history of British sentiment as it moved from the stiffness of upper lips to the quavering intuitions of the heart.” Hywel Williams.

Part 1— Myth and Reality — the Stiff Upper Lip

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Reserved, stiffening the upper lip, being strait-laced and sexually repressed, with tongue-in-cheek, understated humour is how the British stereotype is still described. It is a commonly held belief that as a child, Queen Victoria was encouraged to keep her chin up and maintain a stiff upper lip by a prickly sprig of holly placed under her collar.

Faced with misfortune or adversity, the upper lip tends to quaver, and stiffening it is an external sign of inner resolve. Emotion perceived by an audience deemed inferior democratises the relationship between superior and inferior, an undesirable change for the continuity of aristocracy. The class society of Britain relied on distance and exclusivity for its perpetuation. Entrants from the middle or lower middle classes into the colonial services maintained this trait in their relations with native peoples they considered their inferiors just as in the hierarchy of the aristocracy in Britain these colonial officers, by birth, were near the lower rung of the social ladder. As Queen Victoria grew up, and eventually became Queen-Empress of the British Empire, maintaining a stiff upper lip in the face of adversity assumed the proportions of a national virtue common to all classes in Britain. It enlarged its scope from facing adversity with dignity to suppressing emotion, and at all costs, avoiding its tactile expression.

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The heart might quaver, but the upper lip would not betray it. Intuition, something that the science of the second half of the nineteenth century was incapable of explaining, was not taken into consideration. It was only after the twentieth century was well into its way that writers such as E.M. Forster were able to deal with this subject by comparing the intuitive and emotive approach of the Italians with the tight-corseted attitude characteristic of British females.

Lady Di’s tragic death laid Killjoy Kromwell’s legacy to rest

 

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The Princess of Hearts’ untimely death paid put to Killjoy Kromwell’s sexually repressed revival during the Victorian and Edwardian eras which continued to taint this nation of witty, fun living, garrulous warriors redeemed by John Cleese’s pointed satire.

 

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Kromwell, the long-haired leader of a gang of self-righteous skinheads who ruled Britain from 1653 to 1658, sucked the life force out of British veins.

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Friar Tuck was before that time: “This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption. Let us give praise to our maker and glory to his bounty by learning about… BEER!” — Prince of Thieves.

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Falstaff came later: “I’ll be no longer guilty of this sin; this sanguine coward, this bed-presser, this horseback-breaker, this huge hill of flesh,—” King Henry IV, Part 1.

Friar Tuck and Falstaff are icons of raunchy merriment. As for the rest of their compatriots, they wish each other merriment even at the solemn occasion of Christ’s birthday.

The upbeat friendliness in a British public house today is not a post-colonial development either. The Anglo-Saxons established ale-houses in village homes in the 5th Century, and in 965 there were so many of them that King Edgar had to limit them to one per village by royal decree.

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 Kromwell rode the tide of a joyless people power, helped by Charles I’s ineptitude for which he gallantly lost his head even though there wasn’t much in it to lose.

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So Killjoy Kromwell became Lord Protector and to ensure pure souls leading a good — as opposed to the good — life he closed down theatres, had boys whipped for playing football on Sundays, imprisoned people for swearing and turned Sunday into a farce. One day in every month became a compulsory fast day.

This political correctness became known as Puritanism and sensual pleasure evidence of sinning.

A feminist at heart, Kromwell ensured that women remained safe from men’s impure lust. As such, his skinheads scrubbed makeup off the faces of those women of low intelligence who thought it made them more attractive. Colorful dresses were forbidden, long black dresses, white aprons and hair hidden under a white head-dress were preferred. Their menfolk too, were in Black.

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Christmas celebrations were banned — no decorative holly and the smell of a goose could get the household into serious trouble.

And goodness gracious me — there was no question of leading by example: Kromwell had long hair, drank, ate well and entertained lavishly.

The year he died, Charles II was asked to become King, and did the Brits then let their hair down and party! It lasted until buxom Queen Victoria of the tight round cheeks resurrected Kromwellian fundamentals which held the Brits in the colonies in good stead. But even then, we’re only talking of the governing class.

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When the working classes weren’t getting scurvy, fighting venereal disease, singing ditties, pirating other people’s ships, looting their national treasures or in the stocks for drunkenness, they were throwing around winks and having a laugh. So this Victorian business wasn’t really true of most Brits — just the governing class.

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The British even ate well, though badly. Still do — well and badly, that is. In fact better, actually, thanks to decried immigration and health concerns. Although the whiff of a curry in the colonies sent them running out into the afternoon sun with mad dogs, they lapped up their fiery vindaloos in restaurants started by immigrants they preferred in their place.

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All this richness went unnoticed until Lady Diana’s fatal accident, when journalists and sociologists brought the ‘new touchy feely Britain’ into public focus. This Britain was actually as old as Britain itself but overshadowed by two stuffy periods. Lady Di released this perception trapped unchallenged in Kromwellian and Victorian stuffiness, since that’s what suited everybody, John Cleese notwithstanding. They even chose a Jimmy and a Tony for Prime Minister whose Christian names were un-Christian nicknames carried by at least half a dozen wide boys in Soho over five generations whose conversations are peppered with ‘rollies’ and ‘mercs’, mate!

Naah! The British hug, kiss muah muah, speak Estuary, use first names, dress down and their national dish is Chicken Tikkar Masalar.

The Gently Placed Hot Potato on Washington’s Derriere: radical policy shift?

 

Stratfor writes that the UAE Cabinet has classed 83 organizations as terrorist. The United States’ Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim American Society (MAS) are included in this effort to contain the Muslim Brotherhood’s growing influence that threatens the status quo in the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia.

They fear the politically correct semantics of the Brotherhood more than the drawn guns of the Al Qaeda affiliates. These semantics legitimize the Brotherhood in Western circles, allow it freedom of movement and ensure expanding affiliate support.

The UAE Cabinet’s announcement, while implicitly criticizing the United States for tolerating the CAIR and the MAS, also seeks to empower the lobby waiting to crack down on these two organizations. One may wonder if the same lobby might have requested the UAE to act on their behalf galvanized by Islamic scholar Adnan Oktar’s warning in his November 11 A9TV interview.

He predicted that ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood will eventually merge since the Brotherhood is “at the root” of ISIS.

And if Adnan Oktar himself was also encouraged by the same lobby, this would indicate a radical shift in American policy.

In the process, the UAE Cabinet has gently placed a hot potato on the US Administration’s derriere. It will now have to wiggle between conciliating its affluent Muslim voters and its allies.

Azam Gill

Read the Stratfor report… “<a href=”http://www.stratfor.com/geopolitical-diary/uae-and-saudi-war-muslim-brotherhood-could-be-trouble-us”>The UAE and Saudi War on the Muslim Brotherhood Could Be Trouble for the U.S.</a> is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

The UAE and Saudi War on the Muslim Brotherhood Could Be Trouble for the U.S.

Monday, November 17, 2014 – 18:58 Text Size

The UAE Cabinet approved a list of 83 designated terrorist organizations on Saturday, including al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Much more significant, though, was the inclusion of many Muslim organizations based in the West that are believed to be allied with the Muslim Brotherhood movement. Prominent among them are two American Muslim groups: the Council on American Islamic Relations and the Muslim American Society.

The decision to put two mainstream U.S. Muslim groups on its list of terrorist organizations is part of an initiative, together with the Saudis, to undermine the Islamist movement known as the Muslim Brotherhood. The move is unlikely to succeed, but it could cause problems between the U.S. government and the American Muslim community.

Ever since the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise in the aftermath of the 2011 Arab Spring, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have felt deeply threatened by the Islamist movement. Both countries supported the July 2013 coup that toppled the Brotherhood-led government of Mohammed Morsi in Egypt. They continue to use their financial might to prop up the government of former military chief President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. In addition, they are trying to make sure that the Brotherhood in the region is generally weakened, or even decimated.

What is a Geopolitical Diary?George Friedman Explains.

From their perspective, the Islamism of the Muslim Brotherhood is a far greater threat to the monarchies than even the jihadism of al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Given the armed insurrectionist approach of the jihadists, the Saudis and Emiratis can crack down on them using coercive means more easily.

But for them, the Brotherhood is a much more insidious threat. Not only does it oppose violence as a means of achieving its political goals, but it also seeks democracy. Therefore, the Brotherhood is not just difficult to counter; it promotes a political system that is a threat to the monarchical systems of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

What is worse for the Gulf Arabs is that the Brotherhood is seen as a legitimate political force in the West. Earlier this year, the Saudis and Emiratis pressured the British government to crack down on British Muslim groups that were part of the global Brotherhood network. London launched an inquiry into the movement within its borders, resulting in an unpublished report that cleared the Brotherhood of links to terrorism.

Frustrated, the Gulf Arabs are pursuing a different tack. By declaring the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim American Society (MAS) as terrorist organizations, they are trying to exploit a fault line within the United States. There is a sizable lobby within the U.S. government that is interested in cracking down on those and other Muslim groups. The Emiratis and Saudis hope the lobby will use the United Arab Emirates’ announcement to push in this direction.

While CAIR has for years operated as a nonprofit advocacy entity, in 2007 U.S. authorities named it an unindicted co-conspirator along with about 250 other groups and individuals in a case against the Holy Land Foundation charity. The charity was convicted of supporting Hamas, a designated terrorist organization in the United States, though no formal charges have been brought against CAIR. As a result, it will not take much for groups within the United States that are hostile to CAIR to use the UAE decision against the group.

The goal of the Emiratis and Saudis is to get U.S. authorities focused on CAIR and MAS so that they can use that to press Washington to take action against the Muslim Brotherhood. They are unlikely to get their wish given the lack of evidence that the Brotherhood is engaged in terrorism and given the U.S. focus on fighting jihadists — an effort that requires the Americans to work with moderate forces.

On the domestic front, however, CAIR and MAS could face legal issues. Large numbers of American Muslims support the groups, especially CAIR. Putting them under closer scrutiny could upset American Muslims — exactly the outcome that the Islamic State and al Qaeda want.

Read more: The UAE and Saudi War on the Muslim Brotherhood Could Be Trouble for the U.S. | Stratfor
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Pakistan’s Muslim Clergy condemns mob killings of Christians: Pakistan’s blasphemy laws explained.

Asma Jehangir, champion of human rights in Pakistan and an Officer of France’s Order of the Légion d’Honneur, has hailed the long-awaited participation of the Muslim clergy in condemning the misuse of Pakistan’s Blasphemy laws. Since the 1980s, minority communities, mainly Christians, have been suffering under the misappropriation of this law. Passed under Zi-ul-Haq’s dictatorship, these laws boil up simmering passions within people which only the clergy can redirect. Only a hearts and minds campaign will alleviate this suffering, and the Muslim clergy have the power and competence to institute this change.

Condemnation of Christian couple’s killing by religious parties good omen: Asma.

Dawn, November 21, 2014

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LAHORE: Condemnations by Pakistan’s top clerics and religious parties against the misuse of blasphemy laws could help reverse a rising tide of mob killings, according to Asma Jahangir, Pakistan’s leading rights activists.

A Christian couple accused of desecrating the Holy Quran were beaten to death this month, by a mob of 1,500 and their bodies thrown in a furnace in a spate of lynchings in Pakistan.

A day later, a policeman hacked a man to death with an axe, who had been accused of blasphemy while he was in custody.

Read more: … http://www.dawn.com/news/1145980/condemnation-of-christian-couples-killing-by-religious-parties-good-omen-asma

What are Pakistan’s blasphemy laws?

BBC 6 November 2014

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Pakistan’s blasphemy laws carry a potential death sentence for anyone who insults Islam. Critics say they have been used to persecute minority faiths and unfairly target minorities.

Read more: … http://www.bbc.com/news/world-south-asia-12621225

Four Huge Immigration Problems Obama Likely Won’t Fix Tonight

Foreign Policy, November 20, 201

BY JUSTINE DRENNAN, ELIAS GROLL , SIOBHÁN O’GRADY

President Barack Obama goes before the nation on Thursday night to lay out the executive orders he’s issuing to bypass Congress and massively overhaul the nation’s immigration laws. Through a combination of reforms, Obama’s plan is expected to keep up to 5 million undocumented immigrants with long-standing ties to the United States from being deported.

Republican lawmakers are apoplectic about the initiatives, which they say should be made through legislation rather than by White House fiat. “If he acts by executive diktat, President Obama will not be acting as a president, he will be acting as a monarch,” Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican, wrote in Politico. Administration officials say the president had no choice but to act because such legislation has been stalled in Congress for years.

Under Obama’s reforms, some 4 million undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States for more than five years will be granted work permits and exempted from deportation. The president is also expected to raise the age limit on a program that allows children who came to the United States illegally as children to stay in the country.

Read More: … Four Huge Immigration Problems Obama Likely Won’t Fix Tonight